Thu, 24 Jun 2021

U.S. Senate passes bill to provide safe water, end crises

Robert Besser
04 May 2021, 01:54 GMT+10

WASHINGTON D.C.: The U.S. Senate passed a bill on April 29 to provide $35 billion to upgrade the nation's water system.

Entitled the Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act, it was approved in the Senate by a vote of 89-2.

The bill will provide money to upgrade aging infrastructure and replacing lead pipes.
Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., was the chief sponsor of the bill. It was originally introduced in mid-March following water crises this year in Texas, Oklahoma and Mississippi, which affected millions of Americans.

From the Senate floor, Duckworth told lawmakers, "Our dwindling and state investment into our water infrastructure are allowing countless Americans to be exposed to pollutants, whether it's a sip from the kitchen faucet or living near an outdated water system."

She said problems with water infrastructure usually remain until a tragedy occurs, as it did in Texas when millions of residents were left without safe drinking water due to freezing temperatures.

Duckworth noted that her bill would also provide jobs for Americans, as they rebuild the nation's "crumbling" water infrastructure.

Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., noted that over 40 percent of the funds would target disadvantaged communities, delivering clean water and repair out-of-date infrastructures.

"Clean water is an essential part of our healthy lives, healthy economics and a healthy environment, but for those communities that can simply not pay back loans for needed water infrastructure, we have to find a better way," he said.

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